Georgia Living Management, Inc. has announced plans for the construction of a new Alzheimer's wing at its Willow Pond assisted living facility on Country Club Road.
The new wing will have 11 resident rooms and a joint activity room that will be shared by both assisted living residents and Alzheimer's residents.
"The new wing will also include a new salon/spa that will service the assisted living residents and the Alzheimer's residents," said Karen Martin, executive director of The Suites at Willow Pond and Willow Pond at Home. "The current activity room in Willow Pond will be converted into a movie theatre."
According to Georgia Living Management's chief operating officer Brill Wright, the new addition will be 7,600 square feet including a dining room, media room, sitting areas, porches and a garden. The current facility is 20,300 square feet with 30 apartments on 4.5 acres.
"We currently have 31 residents, and this will give us the ability to add 11 more," Wright said. "We recognize a need for specialized care for those with Alzheimer's and other memory care issues. We already have two memory care wings in our Griffin and LaGrange facilities, and they have been very successful."
Formed in 1997, Georgia Living Management has a total of six assisted living facilities including one in Thomasville and two in Tifton. They also offer in home companions and caregivers through Georgia Living At Home.
Martin has a passion for caring for those with memory care issues.
"I have wanted to have a facility to care for those with Alzheimer's and dementia since we opened Willow Pond ten years ago," she said. "I feel so strongly about this. Someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's every 68 seconds in this country."
Statistics provided by the Alzheimer's Association state that 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, and one in eight older Americans has Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, and the only cause of death among the top ten in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
"We are holding a ground breaking ceremony on April 18, and hope to open the wing this fall," Wright said. "We have plans and renderings displayed so that people can get an idea of what how the new wing is going to look.
Martin said the one thing that families need to know when looking for assistance with a loved one is that the person must be ambulatory to live at Willow Pond. "In other words, they need to be able to get around with limited assistance either walking or in a wheel chair," she said.
Martin is the Bulloch County chairman of this year's "Walk to End Alzheimer's" slated for October 6 at Bulloch Academy.
"All the money raised will go to help with research of this terrible disease," she said. "Raising awareness is the first step."